Tuesday March 20 2012
Baldini looks to Roma youth

Roma’s director general Franco Baldini has reflected on his club’s focus on youth and asked that young players are encouraged, rather than used as an excuse.

Baldini, who returned to the capital club in October 2011, has helped oversee the Giallorossi’s rebuilding project, one that has notably involved a number of youngsters.

Roma spent just over €40m on signing Jose Angel, Bojan Krkic, Erik Lamela, Miralem Pjanic and Fabio Borini in summer 2011 - five players all aged 21 or under at time of purchase, whilst Coach Luis Enrique has also handed senior debuts to four of the primavera’s 2011 title-winning team.

“I’m someone who believes blindly in our youth policy,” Baldini reflected, speaking at a round table discussion on youth and sport organised at the University of Rome.

“People often use the word ‘young’ in order to justify a project that is not winning things at that time, in order to ask for more time and sometimes this can be true.

“However, youth cannot be used as an excuse, but as statement of belief.

“Towards young people I want to believe. This year we have focused heavily on young players, of course, after we lost a few games I found myself thinking that next year we will need more experience.

“We have needed support and this year we have had our fans, which we did not expect, but was a very positive thing.

“There are several things we still need to change - for example when parents accompany their children to training at Trigoria and then wait for hours outside, with nowhere specific to wait.”

The club have gone from having the oldest average age for a squad in Serie A in 2010-11 to having the seventh-youngest in 2011-12.